Category Archives: Caribbean Plus Lit News

Literary news of interest from the Caribbean and wider world

Pepperpot – New Review****

Date Read: November 10th 2017 Published: 2014 Publisher: Peekash Press / Akashic Books Pages: 224 The Blurb Akashic Books and Peepal Tree Press, two of the foremost publishers of Caribbean literature, launch a joint Caribbean-focused imprint, Peekash Press, with this anthology. Consisting entirely of brand-new stories by authors living in the region (not simply authors […]

via Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean edited by Olive Senior — African Book Addict!

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Bocas’ Best: the 2018 Longlist (And Now a Shortlist)

And now there is a short list: “Books by writers from Jamaica and T&T have been named to the shortlist of the 2018 OCM Bocas Prize, the Caribbean’s top literary award, sponsored by One Caribbean Media, parent company of the Express and TV6 and radio network.

For the first time in the eight-year history of the prize, the shortlist consists of just two books: poetry winner Madwoman, by Shara McCallum, and fiction winner Curfew Chronicles, by Jennifer Rahim. There is no non-fiction winner for 2018, as the judges did not believe any of the eligible books “could be held to represent the best of regional writing.”

The two shortlisted titles will now enter the final round of judging, and vie for the overall award of US$10,000, to be presented on 28 April during the 2018 NGC Bocas Lit Fest (25–29 April) in Port of Spain.”

Details here.

Wadadli Pen

These two books received special commendation but did not make the longlist.

“Six books by writers from five Caribbean countries have been announced on the longlist for the 2018 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, sponsored by One Caribbean Media.

Considered the leading literary award for Caribbean writers, the Prize recognises books in three genre categories — poetry, fiction, and literary non-fiction — published by Caribbean authors in the preceding year. The writers on the 2018 longlist range from internationally celebrated prizewinners to debut authors.”

But there’s a twist:

‘The 2018 OCM Bocas Prize non-fiction judges have made an unprecedented decision to name no titles to the longlist. “While a few books stood head and shoulders above the rest,” write the judges, “even those had obvious shortcomings, and we believe that this prize ought to be awarded for achievement, not for effort.” None of the eligible books, the judges continue…

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April 3, 2018 · 5:27 pm

Barbados, Guyana, and Bermuda Finalists for 2018 Burt Award

The Burt Award for Caribbean teen/young adult fiction is sponsored by Canadian non-profit CODE and administered by Trinidad and Tobago’s Bocas Literary Festival. The winner will be announced at this year’s festival, scheduled for April 25th to 29th 2018. In the running are Shakirah M. Bourne of Barbados (below right), Imam Baksh of Guyana (below left), and Elizabeth J. Jones of Bermuda (below middle).

2018-burt-finalists

Here’s the announcement making the rounds:

CODE and NGC Bocas Lit Fest are thrilled to announce the finalists for the 5th annual CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature. This year’s finalists were selected from over 30 submissions of both published books and unpublished manuscripts from around the Caribbean.

In alphabetical order by title, the 2018 finalists are:
A Dark Iris by Elizabeth J. Jones (Bermuda)

Jury Summary: “A sophisticated ‘speculative fiction’ story that reveals the realities of adolescence; crushes, family problems, and school. The main character is real and relatable.

My Fishy Stepmom by Shakirah Bourne (Barbados)

Jury Summary: “A delightful story that is charmingly funny. With a folktale antagonist, the shenanigans that result as the main character fights to preserve her bonds of family and friendship are heartwarming.”

The Dark of the Sea by Imam Baksh (Guyana)

Jury Summary: “A compelling page turner, this fantastical adventure story follows the journey of a young man who is rebellious, unimpressed by education and religion, cynical about the future, and obsessed with girls. The humour is dark, the morality complicated, …and the victories bittersweet.”

The winner and two finalists will be announced on 25 April 2018 at the opening night celebration of the 2018 NGC Bocas Lit Fest in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Celebrating YA literature will continue throughout the NGC Bocas Lit Fest.

Since 2014 a dedicated network of local partners has distributed more than 37,000 award-winning books in eleven Caribbean countries. We look forward to seeing this year’s winning books published and distributed to youth throughout the Caribbean.

***

I would like to add my congratulations to the finalists. It’s no secret that this award is one that means a lot to me – since being a finalist in the inaugural year, 2014, I’ve had the opportunity to work with CODE as a workshop facilitator and a mentor to the Africa leg of the programme (which also has a Canada leg focused on the First nations community), and as a judge with Bocas. I like that the programme in Canada, the Caribbean, and Africa is opening up publishing opportunities for those underserved by the industry. As for the Caribbean leg, I like that it’s leading to the production of new, or increased promotion and distribution of, books that are culturally relevant and whether historical, modern, or futuristic engaging to the teen/young adult reader. Having grown up reading so many books from overseas, it’s nice to know that today’s Caribbean teen has more options. I also like that it not only gives Caribbean independent presses an opportunity but insists on publishing with Caribbean publishers, which can only be good for the industry in the region. The books are distributed throughout the region – and, of course, a savvy publisher will also work to build the overseas readership as well. So, because of the opportunities it offers to Caribbean writers, teen/young adult readers, and publishing industry, I hope this programme has the resources to keep going. I mean, look at the literature that has come out of it already:

all over again - cover FAW 05JUN2013All Over Again by A-dZiko Simba Gegele (1st place, 2014) – author from: Jamaica; published by Blue Moon Publishing of Jamaica.

“All Over Again is a hilarious and enchanting coming of age story as a young boy goes through the trials and joys and puberty, battles with his 6-year-old sister who is the bane of his existences, worries about disappointing his mother and understanding his father…”

rosesThe Art of White Roses by Viviana Prado-Nunez (1st place, 2017) – author from: Puerto Rico; published by Papillote Press of Dominica/UK.

“It is 1957, in a quiet Havana suburb. Adela Santiago is 13 and lives in a small blue house with her family. But something is amiss…”

HoseinThe Beast of Kukuyo by Kevin Jared Hosein ( 2nd place, 2017) – author from: Trinidad and Tobago; published by Blue Banyan Books of Jamaica.

“You’re standing alongside Tiki and running next to Rune at the same time, looking for clues in the forest and admiring the beautiful Trinidadian landscape as you move through this adventurous tale…”

children of the spider 001Children of the Spider by Imam Baksh (1st place, 2015) – author from: Guyana; published by Blue Moon Publishing of Jamaica.

“Mayali is a fugitive from her home world of Zolpash, which is ruled by the Spider gods and their armies, who now have plans to invade Earth—it’s up to Mayali to thwart them…”

dancing in the rain 001Dancing in the Rain by Lynn Joseph (3rd place, 2015) – author from: Trinidad and Tobago; published by Blue Moon Publishing of Jamaica.

“Set against the dazzling beauty of the Dominican Republic, Dancing in the Rain explores the impact of the tragic fall of the Twin Towers on two Caribbean families…”

Dreams-Beyond-the-Shore-front-lr-190x300Dreams Beyond the Shore by Tamika Gibson (1st place, 2016) – author from: Trinidad and Tobago; published by: Blue Banyan Books of Jamaica.

“Seventeen-year-old Chelsea Marchand was pretty satisfied with her life. Until recently. Willing to play the dutiful daughter as her father’s bid to become Prime Minister of their island home brings her family into intense public scrutiny, Chelsea is swept along by the strong tidal wave of politics and becomes increasingly disturbed by her father’s duplicity…”

Girlcott-cover-192x300Girlcott by Florenz Webbe Maxwell (2nd place, 2016) – author from Bermuda; published by Blue Banyan Books of Jamaica.

“A week ago, Desma Johnson had only two things on her mind – in exactly eight days, she would be sixteen years old and to top it off she was inline for a top scholarship, bringing her one step closer to her dreams. Life was perfect and nothing would get in the way of her birthday plans. But it’s 1959 and the secret Progressive Group has just announced a boycott of all cinemas in Bermuda in order to end racial segregation…”

Papillote_-_Gone_to_DriftGone to Drift by Diana McCaulay (2nd place, 2015)  – author from Jamaica; published by Papillote Press of Dominica/UK.

“The story of a 12-year-old Jamaican boy and his search for his beloved grandfather, a fisherman who is lost at sea…”

agostiniHome Home by Lisa Allen-Agostini (3rd place, 2017) – author from Trinidad and Tobago; published by Papillote Press of Dominica/UK.

“A coming-of-age tale with a twist: a clinically depressed Trinidadian teenager, who has attempted suicide, is banished by her mother to Canada to live with her aunt. She feels lonely and in exile. But…”

innerInner City Girl by Colleen Smith-Dennis (3rd place, 2014) – author from Jamaica; published by LMH Publishing Company of Jamaica.

“Martina does the unthinkable: a poor girl from the inner city gains entry into one of the most prestigious high schools in the country. Milverton High, situated on a hill with its picturesque surroundings, students from the upper echelons of society and teachers who do not neccessarily understand, contrasts with the poverty, hunger and family problems which Martina encounters. But Martina is not about to succumb to ridicule, rejection, and poverty…”

Musical YouthMusical Youth by Joanne C. Hillhouse (2nd place, 2014) – author from Antigua and Barbuda; published by Caribbean Reads of St. Kitts-Nevis/USA.

“Zahara is a loner. She’s brilliant on the guitar but in everyday life she doesn’t really fit in. Then she meets Shaka, himself a musical genius and the first boy who really gets her. They discover that they share a special bond…”

Protectors-pledge-cover-187x300The Protectors’ Pledge by Daniel V. C. Mclean (3rd place, 2016) – author from Trinidad and Tobago; published by Caribbean Reads of St. Kitt’s-Nevis/USA

“Twelve-year-old JV can’t wait to spend his vacation exploring the Oscuros Forest. True, everyone in the village of Alcavere believes the Oscuros Forest is a place to be feared, inhabited by dangerous and magical beings. But JV is not afraid, even when his first trip into the forest brings him face-to-face with a mysterious creature…”

And now there are three more books to look forward to.

Two finals thoughts. If you have a teen in your life, there’s got to be something on this list that appeals to them and if you’re a writer, embrace this opportunity to put your name and your country on this list, and potentially put your book in the hands of readers across the Caribbean and beyond.

As with all content (words, images, other) on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight,  Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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Reading Room and Gallery 27

The Reading Room and Gallery is a space where I share things I come across that I think you might like too  – some are things of beauty, some just bowl me over with their brilliance, some are things I think we could all learn from, some are artistes I want to support by spreading the word, and some just because. Let’s continue to support the arts and the artistes by rippling the water together. For earlier installments of the Reading Room and Gallery, use the search feature to the right. This is the 27th one which means there are 26 earlier ones (can’t link them all). Remember to keep checking back, this list will grow as I make new finds until it outgrows this page and I move on to the next one. – JCH

POETRY

“…But
this too is disputed – not the flowers – rather, the origin
of bananas; they may have come here with Columbus on
a ship that in 1502 slipped into Orcabessa the way grief
sometimes slips into a room. …” – Place Name: Oracabessa by Kei Miller

INTERVIEWS

“Why does the land speak your poem?

The land is doing what all good poets do, it is speaking for people – the Taino who were the original inhabitants – who have no voice.” – Lorna Goodison speaking on her poem “Reporting Back to Queen Isabella”; also read the poem.

***

“We don’t see you. The future is not you. The future is not your story. And the future is not black sci fi. So if we don’t exist in the future, where do we exist? Only in the past.” – Canadian film director Sharon Lewis on her film Brown Girl Begins, based on Nalo Hopkins’ Brown Girl in the Ring

FICTION

“That was the day I learned you should never try to pull your fingers out of an eel’s mouth, not a live one or a dead one. Not if you want to have any skin left to carry him home with, and especially not if it’s a twenty-pound silver-belly.” – Eel by Stefanie Seddon

***

“Still, he shut up and drank the tea, the sweet-milk making it go down more easily. Sweet milk was his favourite thing next to an ice-cold soursop suckabubby. As with the suckabubby, he would clamp his mouth to the opening and coax out the thick liquid when Tanty wasn’t looking. Tanty preferred to buy the sweet-milk since it lasted longer un-refrigerated than the evaporated sort, and their fridge did little more than take up space.” – excerpt from The Boy from Willow Bend by Joanne C. Hillhouse

***

“When I tell you, I could only love you in England, I also mean that you could only love me here, as well, but I cannot say this because you would not understand, you would argue, and tell me that love conquers all. We speak in English, and I cannot tell you that I know this is not true.” – I am a Bird by Kathrina Haji Mohd Daud

***

“Jules Poitevin is 54, he has three children, two sons of 17 and 14 and a nine-year-old daughter. He had felt that two children were more than enough, but his wife really wanted a little girl.

To keep a marriage running, you had to make sacrifices.” – Paxadol by Arnon Grunberg

***

“Their memories had become muddled with what they had been told, and what they wanted to believe.” – Paddle to Canada by Heather Monley

***

“But he did not touch her. Instead, as he watched her check the soup, he felt sadness for her, too. He felt awful that she had to make this soup base every Tuesday. He knew that years ago, she had a miscarriage. He knew that the daughter she did give birth to, the one who survived the pregnancy, didn’t call home often enough and that her son could only call collect from jail. Touching her breasts would make her less important than what she was, and she wasn’t important at all.” – DeMisty D. Bellinger’s French Fry Soup

CREATIVES ON CREATING

“I wasn’t keeping it simple. By keeping it simple I don’t mean abandoning any intricate details of what I envisioned. I simply mean that I was leaving out some fundamental basic things that would strengthen the work I was doing. I had to revise my approach to these fundamental aspects of how I was working and keep it simple. In this case, keeping it simple meant, for me, not to overlook the fundamentals.” – from Levi King’s Emerging Director Residency – Week 2 Blog Post

***

“The poem stalled here. I went back to my journal later and edited a few times, and you can see the lines I crossed out as well as how the final draft came to be. I think it is important for the poet to trust that first voice that a poem appears in, insomuch as that first voice often contains a several different possibilities that cannot all be explored. Now, I may try to split that voice and discover more than one poem, but more often than not, it is a process of whittling away and discarding to find the right direction and emotion that I need to capture.” – British Virgin Islands’ poet Richard Georges

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and Musical Youth). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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James, Hutchinson are Academy Winners

“NEW YORK, March 20, 2018—The American Academy of Arts and Letters announced today the names of 15 writers who will receive its 2018 awards in literature. The awards will be presented in New York at the Academy’s annual Ceremonial in May. This year’s literature prizes, totaling $185,000, honor both established and emerging writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The Academy’s 250 members propose candidates, and a rotating committee of writers selects winners. This year’s award committee members were Joy Williams (chairman), Russell Banks, Henri Cole, Amy Hempel, and Anne Tyler.”

Among the 15 are two notable Caribbean writers, Marlon James and Ishion Hutchinson who are among eight recipients of Arts and Letters Awards of $10,000 each honoring exceptional accomplishment in literature.

Read the rest of the list here.

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Bocas’ Best: the 2018 Longlist

These two books received special commendation but did not make the longlist.

“Six books by writers from five Caribbean countries have been announced on the longlist for the 2018 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, sponsored by One Caribbean Media.

Considered the leading literary award for Caribbean writers, the Prize recognises books in three genre categories — poetry, fiction, and literary non-fiction — published by Caribbean authors in the preceding year. The writers on the 2018 longlist range from internationally celebrated prizewinners to debut authors.”

But there’s a twist:

‘The 2018 OCM Bocas Prize non-fiction judges have made an unprecedented decision to name no titles to the longlist. “While a few books stood head and shoulders above the rest,” write the judges, “even those had obvious shortcomings, and we believe that this prize ought to be awarded for achievement, not for effort.” None of the eligible books, the judges continue, “could be held to represent the best of regional writing.”’

The books that are counted among the best of the year (in Caribbean fiction) are If I had the Wings by Helen Klonaris, Curfew Chronicles by Jennifer Rahim, and Tell No-One about This by Jacob Ross; and (in Caribbean poetry) Liviticus by Kamau Brathwaite, Infidelities by Sonia Farmer, and Madwoman by Shara McCallum.

From the longlist genre winners are selected and then an overall winner; the overall winner will receive US$10,000 on April 28th 2018 during the Bocas literary festival in Trinidad.

Past winners of the overall prize are Derek Walcott (White Egrets, St. Lucia, 2011), Earl Lovelace (Is Just a Movie, Trinidad and Tobago, 2012), Monique Roffey (Archipelago, Trinidad and Tobago, 2013), Robert Antoni (As Flies to Whatless Boys, Trinidad and Tobago, 2014), Vladimir Lucien (Sounding Ground, St. Lucia, 2015), Olive Senior (The Pain Tree, Jamaica, 2016), and Kei Miller (Augustown, Jamaica, 2017).

The only Antiguan and Barbudan to have made the longlist to date is Dorbrene O’Marde, in 2015 longlisted in the non-fiction category for King Short Shirt: Nobody Go Run Me.

For more on the 2018 Bocas long list, visit here.

As with all content (words, images, other) on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight,  Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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Antigua & Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed Vlll

This picks up where the previous installments of Antigua and Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed pages left off (use the search feature to the right to dig them up).  As with those earlier pages, it features reviews about A & B writings that I come across as I dig through my archives or surf the web. You’re welcome to send any credible/professional reviews that you come across as well. They’re not in any particular order, I just add them as I add them; some will be old, some will be new. It’s all shared in an effort to underscore Antigua and Barbuda’s presence in the Caribbean literary canon.

The Travel Bag site (not a review site but a site of recommendations by travel experts) makes several literary recommendations with regards to Antigua and Barbuda (excerpted below) in 2014:

unburnableautobiography of my motherohgadno-seed-poster-emailskinposter-carl-veronnewmango-poster-email

“Essential Holiday Reading…For a thrilling read, on your next trip to this tropical paradise, pick up the remarkable Unburnable, by Marie-Elena John. This sprawling crime drama/murder mystery is split between the Caribbean and Washington DC, and follows Lillian Baptiste as she is drawn back home by the lure of scandals and secrets from her past. It is a truly storming read, and would suit any avid book fan with a penchant for darker mysteries…

“Notable Antiguan Books…The 1995 novel, The Autobiography of My Mother, by Jamaica Kincaid, is very well known in Antigua. It is also highly regarded, despite being surprisingly controversial amongst western scholars. This book, which follows the tale of Xuela Claudette Richardson, explores themes of motherhood, colonialism, race, love, loss, fear and redemption… If you have any interest in the history of this beautiful island, Kincaid is a more than skilful (sic) guide – take a chance and pick up one of her novels for your next trip.

“Notable Antiguan Authors…If you are looking to dive into something fresh and modern, give the magnificent Joanne C Hillhouse a try …In some ways, Hillhouse is a natural successor to authors like Kincaid – Oh, Gad (Oh Gad!) certainly shares certain narrative characteristics with The Autobiography of My Mother. For a fresh and contemporary read, give this young author a try.”

“Notable Antiguan Films…No Seed, a drama which explores the subtle nuances of Caribbean politics. …also horror flick, The Skin, which follows a young couple as they encounter strange occurrences, in the wake of finding and selling an ancient artefact. In 2001, The Sweetest Mango was released to acclaim on the island – it tells the story of a woman who returns to her island home and becomes involved in a complicated love triangle.”

The named films were written by D. Gisele Isaac (No Seed, The Sweetest Mango) and Howard Allen (The Skin).

Read the full article which also includes recommended music from Antigua and Barbuda here.

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